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Mountain “U” lit in Jordan’s honor, community stunned

SALT LAKE CITY — The cement block U on Mount Van Cott behind the University of Utah is usually lit to indicate one of the college teams is on a court or field, playing. When a team wins, the block U flashes.

But Saturday night, the U was illuminated for a very different reason — to honor a promising young football player who died the night before of an accidental self-inficted gunshot wound.

Officials in Denton County, Texas, reported early Saturday morning that freshman runningback Ty Jordan, age 19, was pronounced dead at a hospital. He’d been rushed there after accidentally firing a gun toward himself.

The Jordan family dealt with the death of a family member earlier this year, when Ty’s mother Tiffany died after a fight with long and bone cancer at the age of 43.

Jordan was from Mesquite, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of Denton.

A recruit from West Mesquite High School, Ty reportedly had offers to play football at USC, Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas. But he chose coach Kyle Whittingham and the University of Utah, where he would play only one abbreviated season of five games.

During that season, Jordan scored six touchdowns and ran for 597 yards and just recently was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.